Summer Solstice (Part Un)

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The Herbes de Provence Rotisserie Chicken was first published at thefilipinoexpat.com. You can find it here.

It was a happy sigh of relief when we thought of the Spring goddess coming to rescue us from bitter-cold winter this year. Two months passed by since then, it seemed likely that she might have gone somewhere else. I was already getting excited to see the birds and the trees, the flowers and the bees coming out full of life, but given the almost zero degrees temperature at springtime, they themselves were unsure if they really should. Meanwhile, I had been in constant bouts with myself just for deciding on what exactly to wear.  Oh spring, where art thou really?

At the end of another season, summer starts to come as it should be. Whoopie! And that excitement led me to check my knack for cooking again.

Summer dishes must be really good. We’ll bring out the grills eventually, that’s something expected. In the meantime, a weekend before summer comes, I did a dry run.

Saturday Lunch – Herbes de Provence Rotisserie Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 to 3 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 chicken, 3 to 4 lb.

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the butter, herbes de Provence, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  2. Gently slide your fingers under the breast of the chicken to loosen the skin, being careful not to tear it. Rub some of the herbes de Provence mixture underneath the skin and the rest on the outside of the chicken. Using kitchen twine, tie the wings behind the back and truss the legs together.
  3. Place the chicken upright, with the legs pointing down, on the roasting rack of an electric rotisserie according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Set the roasting rack inside the drip tray, then transfer to the rotisserie. Roast at 400°F according to the manufacturer’s instructions until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 160°F and the thigh registers 170°F, about 55 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the rotisserie and lift it off the roasting rack. Place the chicken on a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the chicken, arrange on a warmed platter and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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I am once a big fan of litsong manok, a Filipino’s version of roasted chicken. A few good friends were my witnesses when I shockingly announced, “Andok’s is the best meal everrr…”.  Believe it or not, when all the restos at the beach couldn’t open their doors to feed us during those wee hours of the night, beggars can’t be choosers.

Hot and ready-to-eat roasted chicken, as I fondly recall, is also one of the most accessible meals I can ever get when I want to offload myself from preparing my own meals. Well up to now, here in Switzerland, I’m just doing the same as well until recently.

Either we were terribly famished or the meal tasted really that good, my mahal and I liked it, so much that he couldn’t get enough and started to ask why I didn’t make some more. Well, to be honest, I was afraid to do this recipe. The recipe just said so – 1 whole chicken, but I bought well-chopped chicken thighs. Later I did find out too, a rotisserie is required. If my memory serves me well, I’ve seen mothers making oven-baked chicken so I convinced myself, our oven should suffice! So as you’d imagine, all the somersaults and lifts I had to do with the chicken (see steps 3 and 4) were done improv. I just flipped the thighs to the other side and back.

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Most oven-roasted chicken I have tasted so far are not that crispy, juicy and tasty all at the same time. But lo and behold, this chicken surely was! Unless it’s overcooked or burnt, it’s nonetheless perfect. I’m impressed. The good thing about this whole process too, I’ve just learned a new cooking technique. The reason being for having that crispiness is due to the recipe’s magic ingredient – the sea salt. Or fleur de sel, which I think is a more special kind.

It turned out that the Herbes de Provence Rotisserie Chicken recipe is not only perfectly delicious but also, c’est facile (it’s easy). In Filipino slang, “chicken!”

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P.S. Many thanks to Williams-Sonoma for these beautiful recipes and Pepperplate for coming up with a very useful meal planning tool. You’ve helped busy women like me in so many ways. This bottle of champagne and big scoops of ice cream are for you!

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